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Chelsea vs. Manchester United: 6 Things We Learned

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Chelsea vs. Manchester United: 6 Things We Learned
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres

Chelsea vs. Manchester United today was the best match of the season so far. There was plenty to learn, especially for referee Mark Clattenburg and the FA.

A growing number of people are absolutely fed up with what FIFA calls "simulation." Referees are clearly under pressure to deal with it, because apart from the obscene money factors, this is killing the game.

Many bemoan all the foreign players coming into the game because they are squeezing homegrown players out. Yes, they have brought great flair and skill to the Premier League, but they've also brought the ugly face of cheating.

It is suspected that in some countries abroad, players are told to take every advantage and also coached as to how to get an unfair decision.

FIFA wants to keep the game unsullied by video technology and rely on the "human factor," but today, Chelsea fans would have every right to feel aggrieved because of decisions that could have been resolved by a second look.

OK, so in rugby, Rugby League and cricket, replays are helping to bring fairness to decisions, but football is a much faster game than any of those. It is a game based on momentum.

For example, when Chelsea scored their second goal today they had the momentum and could have gone on to win the match, having been 2-0 down.

So you can't keep stopping the game to check whether somebody dived. That would kill spectator interest faster than the simulation itself.

But something has to be done. Surely, a "dodgy dives" panel on a Monday, with an automatic three-match ban if a dive is proven would sort the matter out in less than a month.

Two days ago, we predicted a 3-2 United win, with the following teams on the pitch. 

Chelsea

Cech

Ivanovich Luiz Cahill Cole

Ramires Obi

Oscar Hazard Mata

Torres

 

Manchester United

De Gea

Rafael Ferdinand Evans Evra

Carrick Anderson or Cleverley

Valencia Rooney Young

Van Persie

 

Nobody could have predicted how the result would come about. What they could safely have expected, however, was an exciting game with loads of quality football.

Anyone who thought that this would be a cagey affair doesn't understand the Premier League. With United having been top dogs for much of Sir Alex's reign and Chelsea nicking the Champions League last season, this match was all about bragging rights. Both sets of fans have a case.

We didn't learn much that we didn't already know or suspect, but there were some standout points.

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